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is sufficient warrant with him to entitle it to belief, and to invest it with all the rights of a subject and its predicates." How false this is, let his work on Vulgar Errors testify, which was written expressly to dissipate, by means of philosophy, hundreds of the superstitions of his own age. Take another passage as erroneous as any of the preceding : “He is superstitious but not bigoted; to him all religions are much the same.” As to superstition, he held the theological errors of his times in common with Hale, Bacon, and others; but as to the other charge, there is nothing in all Sir Thomas has written to give it the slightest countenance. He was a Christian by the conviction of his intellect and the piety of his heart; and the very same investigations which had convinced him that the religion of the Bible was true, had led him to the conclusion that every other religion was false. One reference more, and we shall lay Hazlitt aside. Sir Thomas in one place, strangely enough it must be confessed, says he should be "content if our species were continued like trees.” Hazlitt, in alluding to this odd passage, says: “The reason which Sir Thomas gives for the orthodoxy of his taste in this respect is, that he was an admirer of the music of the spheres." This gloss makes our author incoherent, whereas the passage, as it is given in Religio Medici, along with what follows, is one of the most beautiful and lofty to be found in the language. It is the commencement of the sublime passage on music already quoted, where, from the idea of the sex, he advances to female beauty; then to beauty in general; then to harmony; and finally, to the harmony of the worlds; which is the music of the spheres. Hazlitt takes hold of this passage, not as a skilful dissector, but rather as a butcher; as he cannot find the joints, the dissecting knife is thrown aside, and the cleaver resorted to,-—what cannot be overcome by the critic-art must yield to critic-force; he had other books to read and criticise, Sir Thomas refused to be understood at a glance, and the result is, that a want of leisure with the critic becomes a want of genius in the author.

We had intended offering some remarks on Coleridge's estimate of Sir Thomas Browne, but as we have already gone beyond the limits we had proposed for this article, we will content ourselves by merely remarking, that our author was one of his “first favourites."

By his particular genius he did embrace him.”

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ART. VIII-DIVINE PROVIDENCE.

Of the various theories of Divine Providence at present propounded, the more important, perhaps, may be reduced to three :

1. The theory which represents that God not only acts in all things, but that he is the sole ACTOR. With this theory there are no second causes. God is the immediate cause of all events, and of all acts. The creature is an occasion, but not a cause.

The "creature is a passive instrument by which God absolutely and irresistibly accomplishes his designs."*

2. The second theory represents the creature as independent of the Creator in all acts. God, in this case, is represented as impressing laws upon all things, both matter and mind, and then as leaving the whole, like a wound-up clock, to finish its history. This has been called the “system of mechanism.”+ It received great support in the fourteenth century. Baxter adopted this system.. Dr. Combe, of Edinburgh, professes, in his Constitution of Man, to have discovered that these laws act independently of each other; that is, that the great departments of organized and unorganized matter and mind have each a specific law, and that they act independently of each other, and are, in an absolute sense, changeless. He maintains that the interposition or agency of the Almighty is excluded from every manifestation of mind or matter. In this theory God is not known in the earth, excepting by his creative acts.

3. The third theory is that which admits natural law, but claims that concurrent aid from God is essential for the continued existence of matter, and for the exercise of all active powers with which the creature is endowed. In this theory two agents are admitted in some form, in the usual developments of matter and mind. Natural law is an agent of God, but is always superintended by him. The rational creature is always upheld by the Almighty, but He does not participate in their sin.

With an additional element we adopt the last theory. We admit that there is a physical law impressed upon all matter: we admit a law also upon the mind and one law is its freedom. We claim a Divine superintendence, which never abandons either matter or mind. We claim also interposition, which sometimes directly guides natural law, or, as an agent in the natural world, sometimes

* Knapp's Theology, p. 237.

+ Ibid. I Combe's Constitution of Man, p. 21-29. Ibid.

rises against it, or renders it powerless :-or God may give to it a supernatural force. Our theory admits God to be a free Beingas free at least as a monarch on earth-save that he cannot err, nor in

any way do wrong. And while we admit the mind to be free, we hold that it is taught, helped, checked, and governed of God. Natural law in its outward developments is usually changeless; but has been, is, and will be interrupted, while the present state of things continues, in order to meet the moral condition of life, which is now imperfect. Where a nation is virtuous or vicious, God sends blasting and drought, rain and harvest, in accordance with the moral state, at His pleasure.

There hold against the first of the theories named, the following objections :

1. All those Scriptures which make man the responsible agent for all his acts, and judge him for them, even "every idle word.” These Scriptures constitute quite a portion of the whole Bible.

2. Man's consciousness is against it. He knows that he has acted against the mind of God. These convictions that he has sinned are sometimes terrible.

3. All ideas of pardon, and the whole sacrificial system of Christ to procure pardon, are against it. We need not repent for God, nor seek pardon for Him, nor for His acts. But, if He is the sole Actor, then every penitent tear is for God, not man. So did Christ die for Him, not for us.

Against the second theory the following objections hold :

1. It strikes at the whole system of the patriarchal and Jewish religion, a dominant idea of which was to ask of God for daily interpositions for fruitful fields, as though he guided the clouds; for protection, as though he guarded life; and which recognised God as the director of the laws that give us "basket and store," "pestilence," " ildew," "fowls of the air,” “rain," “

drought," "fruit of the ground," "fruit of the body," "coming in," "going out,”-in a word, as the everywhere present Governor of the universe. Deut. xxviii.

2. It offends equally against the whole religious system of Christ, which teaches us to pray for “ daily bread;" thus representing God to be everywhere a prayer-answering God, and that in every event, the “falling sparrow" not excepted. It strikes especially against all those passages in the New and Old Testament, which represent the Divine Agency as active in man: e.g., “I in you," "you in Me,” “ Christ in us," " being filled with the Holy Ghost," &c.

3. It is against the experience of every true and mature Christian, who knows that "God dwelleth in him," "working in

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him, both to will and to do, of His good pleasure," and knowing also that " without Christ he can do nothing.

The third theory, with the additional element and explanations, we adopt; and the principal object of our present article will be to illustrate and sustain it. If the theory harmonize with the moral history of the world in the recorded facts of the Bible for two thousand years, and with what is known of natural laws, and with the general experience of mankind, we claim that it is true. The fact that gravity explains the movements of the solar system, is an evidence of its truth. Thus of the doctrine of Providence: if it harmonize with His recorded movements, we set it down as truth.

1. Natural law is the usual agent by which the Divine Being controls matter. The whole material world is under this law, so far as to give stability to its movements, and inspire hope in man. The sun rises and sets, the tide flows and ebbs, in accordance with the same law. Thus also grass springs forth from the earth, the lily blossoms, the fields wave with wheat, generations of men succeed each other, and all the phenomena of life pass onward to its consummation. But while this is admitted, we maintain that natural law is but an agent of an intelligent mind, that is always answering the purposes of His will

, and is to be changed at His pleasure--and is changed, whenever circumstances or His glory may call for it. The very stability of what seems to us natural law, arises not from any attribute of matter out of God, but from the infinite wisdom of God in the arrangement of the universe, and from the fact that but few changes in natural law should be witnessed. But we cannot admit that matter has an attribute not to be overcome by the Deity; nor that he has abandoned his intelligent creation entirely to its power. He still holds natural law as an agent to promote the best interests of the universe, but at all times subject to suspension. In this way, He will “rain on one spot of earth, and not on another." He will suspend its laws, " that there be neither dew nor rain by the space of three years and six months ;" and again change the direction of some wheel of the Providential arrangement, and so order its movements that there shall be an abundance of rain: and thus show to man that He is the author, governor, and true God of nature. He will in this manner send famine in the one case, or withhold it. In a word, natural law is so ordered that it shall be subservient to moral government-the great object of all law and of all matter. Natural law is designed to exhibit GOD.

2. Divine moral government or providence is seen conspicuously in an event where God touches a spring, not in the natural, but in

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the spiritual world, but all in accordance with natural law, and with the freedom of the mind. A beautiful illustration of this sentiment may be found in 2 Kings, chap. 7. Samaria, the capital of Israel, had been sorely besieged by Ben-hadad, King of Syria. The consequence was, by natural law, a terrible famine. And such was the scarcity of provision, that women ate their own offspring. Four lepers at this time stood at the "entering in of the gate,” in a state of starvation; and they reasoned very conclusively "If we enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now, therefore, come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” The resolution was made, and they repaired to the Syrian camp as a desperate alternative. Now "the LORD had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said, one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us ..... and they fled for their life.” Here is a beautiful narration—too beautiful for anything but truth. But that host of chariots was in the spiritual world. They had been seen a few days before by the servant of Elisha. Here they were heard-heard, probably, by natural law, at least in accordance with it. No natural law was here violated; but the spring touched, to accomplish the great moral purpose in view-to show that the God of Israel was the governor of all men and nature too; that nothing was too hard for him—was in the spirit world. The air is in motion, apparently in accordance with natural law, the deep rumbling of chariots is heardthe tramping of horses and of a mighty host at hand—the army flies as though driven by a "viewless" but powerful wind. Their equipage, and food, and garments, and silver, are left behind. The gates of Samaria are cautiously thrown open, and plenty restored to the famished Israelites : and all this in a few hours.

Now, here is a field of action for Divine Providence: in modes of operation like the above-as wide, as comprehensive, as minute as is moral government and the world's history, but all invisible to man; and yet it may touch any event in life, affecting nations or individuals, turning and upturning at the pleasure of God, down to the fall of a sparrow or the flight of a bird ; and all accomplishing the great purpose of the Almighty, to make himself known to man, as the great Author and Governor of the world. And all this without infringing human liberty or natural law; and yet in such a way as to encourage the fear of God, true penitence and virtue, and

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